Uber

Supreme Court Lets Stand 7th Circuit Victory for Rights of Rideshare Customers and Drivers

By declining to take up the case Illinois Transportation Trade Association v. Chicago, the Supreme Court allows customers of Uber, Lyft, and similar e-hailing services to breathe easier.

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The Supreme Court today declined to take up the case Illinois Transportation Trade Association v. City of Chicago.

That's great news for Americans who want more choice and opportunity in both using and operating rides-for-hire, both in Illinois and nationwide.

Timothy Neesam (GumshoePhotos)/Foter

The trade association of Illinois cabbies was appealing an important decision from last October from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. In that decision, as I reported at the time, Judge Richard Posner wrote eloquently that the trade association for traditional cabs failed to make the case that Chicago's failure to regulate e-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft the same way they regulated cabs rose to the level of a violation of the cabbies' constitutional rights.

The cabbies made seven distinct claims that their constitutional rights were being violated, all of which were in Judge Posner's eyes "weak."

"Were the old deemed to have a constitutional right to preclude the entry of the new into the markets of the old, economic progress might grind to a halt," Posner wrote in that decision. "Instead of taxis we might have horse and buggies; instead of the telephone, the telegraph; instead of computers, slide rules."

The cabbies also tried to argue their constitutional right to equal protection under the law was violated by the differential regulatory treatment of cabs and e-hailing services. In response to that claim Posner wrote that "The proper question to ask regarding equal protection is whether the regulatory differences between Chicago taxicabs and [e-hailing services] are arbitrary or defensible, and the City makes a compelling case that they're the latter."

Posner went on to explain some of the relevant differences, such as the fact that customers of Uber and similar services "must sign up…before being able to summon it, and the sign up creates a contractual relationship specifying such terms as fares, driver qualifications, insurance, and any special need of the potential customer owing to his or her having a disability" and that "unlike taxicab service [an e-hail company] assumes primary responsibility for screening potential drivers and hiring only those found to be qualified, and the passengers receive more information in advance about their prospective rides—information that includes not only the driver's name but also pictures of him (or her) and of the car."

"The Constitution does not require governments to stick with outdated protectionist regulations in the face of technological innovation." said attorney Renee Flaherty in a press release from the Institute for Justice (I.J.) today when news of the Supreme Court's declining the case broke.

The Institute, as it noted in that press release, "represented ridesharing drivers who intervened in the lawsuit to make sure that their competitors did not succeed in using the courts" to shut them down and damage both them and would-be rideshare customers.

And, as I.J. notes, this decision of the Supreme Court's to let the 7th Circuit's decision stand has ramifications beyond Illinois. It "has cleared the way for transportation freedom across the country," said Institute for Justice Senior Attorney Anthony Sanders. "In city after city, we are seeing lawsuits like these filed by incumbent businesses that want to freeze the current regulatory environment in amber. And these lawsuits, rightly, are failing. Consumers and entrepreneurs, not lawyers and bureaucrats, should decide what transportation options are available."

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17 responses to “Supreme Court Lets Stand 7th Circuit Victory for Rights of Rideshare Customers and Drivers

  1. Illinois did something right by accident.

    1. Illinois did something right by accident.

      As did Jake and Elwood?

  2. Headline excerpt:

    …allows customers of Uber, Lyft, and similar e-hailing services to breath [sic] easier.

    The court’s declining certiorary took my breath away.

    As to the adjective “easier” in place of “more easily” — I magnanimously let that pass.

    1. It’s “certiorari,” asshole.

      1. Who you calling asshole, asshole?

  3. RE: Supreme Court Lets Stand 7th Circuit Victory for Rights of Rideshare Customers and Drivers
    By declining to take up the case Illinois Transportation Trade Association v. Chicago, the Supreme Court allows customers of Uber, Lyft, and similar e-hailing services to breath easier.

    What?
    Give the unenlightened choice?
    Only our ruling elitist turds enslaving have to the right to choose.
    These justices on the SCOTUS need to be hanged!

    1. Era of Trump. Chaos. People choosing willy nilly.

      1. Isn’t it ironical when the taxi drivers protect and hang on to their precious medallions until those little pieces of steel (painted gold) become progressively worthless with each passing Uber ride? Same thing’s going on here in Montana with the Montana Tavern Owners who have a strangle hold on liquor licenses (apportioned by population) in our State. Meanwhile, the micro brewery scene is growing by leaps and bounds, as the folks find better, more uplifting environments in which to throw back a little alcohol. With each downed beer, the old scene becomes less and less attractive.

        Cling. Cling! CLING TIGHTER ….

        There’s a simple, liberating solution for them, but they’d rather cling tightly to a false talisman.

  4. “The proper question to ask regarding equal protection is whether the regulatory differences between Chicago taxicabs and [e-hailing services] are arbitrary or defensible, and the City makes a compelling case that they’re the latter.”

    Goddammit. Equal protection doesn’t work that way!! Different laws and regulations for two different types of service does not violate equal protection.

  5. Same logic for Airbnb?

  6. I have a slide rule. It works even during a power failure. But there are no games to play on it.

  7. If Posner were worth a damn he’d have said that the restrictions on Chicago’s *cabs* violate their Constitutional rights and had to go.

    There’s literally nothing in the reasoning that makes a real difference between cabs and Uber – want to hail a cab on the street? They print their fares on the side. Even where I live, where there is no regulation of the ‘ride-for-hire’ community, drivers own their own vehicles and pay to have that info printed out so that its available up front.

    Hell, I’ve been in plenty of countries where you could simply negotiate a fare directly and that was expected practice instead of meters – because no one local trusted the meters.

    Vetting of the drivers? Uber takes no more or less responsibility than the taxis do.

    Picture of driver available beforehand? That’s a simple enough thing a taxi company could add in to its own ride-hailing app.

    Just admit that there’s no ‘compelling government interest’ in municipalities regulating taxis *or* ride-share.

  8. If Posner were worth a damn he’d have said that the restrictions on Chicago’s *cabs* violate their Constitutional rights and had to go.

    There’s literally nothing in the reasoning that makes a real difference between cabs and Uber – want to hail a cab on the street? They print their fares on the side. Even where I live, where there is no regulation of the ‘ride-for-hire’ community, drivers own their own vehicles and pay to have that info printed out so that its available up front.

    Hell, I’ve been in plenty of countries where you could simply negotiate a fare directly and that was expected practice instead of meters – because no one local trusted the meters.

    Vetting of the drivers? Uber takes no more or less responsibility than the taxis do.

    Picture of driver available beforehand? That’s a simple enough thing a taxi company could add in to its own ride-hailing app.

    Just admit that there’s no ‘compelling government interest’ in municipalities regulating taxis *or* ride-share.

  9. FINALLY! After all that fuss–me stuck in towns where “Raus Uber!” replaced “Raus Juden!” as slogans to live by, I got to ride some Uber cars. The drivers were young, competent and diverse. One even spoke of rights and freedom, right there in the middle of Sanantone!

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  11. Last month i managed to pull my first five figure paycheck ever!!! I’ve been working for this company online for 2 years now and i never been happier? They are paying me $95/per hour and the best thing is cause i am not that tech-savy, they only asked for basizing experience working with them and i wanted to share this with you, because they are looking for new people to join their team now and i highly recommend to everyone to apply? Visit following page for more information

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  12. But but but… Dey terk er jerbs!

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